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Vet's lawyer claims self-defense in lot shooting

May 12, 2014
Associated Press

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — The attorney for an Army veteran charged with fatally shooting another motorist in a western Pennsylvania parking lot has told a jury in his opening statement that the shooting was self-defense in a road-rage dispute.

But Washington County prosecutors contend 32-year-old Brandon Thomas got out of his vehicle and purposely shot 55-year-old Vaughn Simonelli, of Chartiers Township, in the shoulder and back on Oct. 18, 2012.

The defense contends Thomas suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and was blocked in his parking space by Simonelli's vehicle, which witnesses say sped after Thomas' SUV after the men argued at a traffic light.

Some witnesses claim Thomas, of Upper St. Clair, got out of his vehicle and shot Simonelli — the version prosecutors believe. But others support Thomas' version that he shot from inside the vehicle as Simonelli threw a punch.

 
 

 

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